ABIA GUBER TRIBUNAL: Otti presents original NYSC certificate to court

Hon. Iheanacho Obioma, who worked as the Director General of Dr Alex Otti’s governorship campaign organisation during the 2023 election, has countered PDP’s claim that the collation of Obingwa Local Government Area governorship election results were done outside Abia State.

Appearing on Thursday as the witness of Dr Alex Otti (2nd respondent in the petition filed by the PDP), Obioma told the governorship election petition tribunal that the results of Obingwa LGA were collated in Abia state, however, calls by political parties agents including Labour Party for INEC to review the results which were being collated citing anomalies, led to the suspension of further collation of Obingwa LGA result.


He told the tribunal that INEC paid heed to the protest of party agents and ordered the state collation officer and other staff of the electoral umpire involved to report to Abuja where the BVAS machines used for the Obingwa election were reviewed. “The BVAS machines revealed that the authentic number of accredited voters in Obingwa LGA is 27,664 against the purported 108,000 given by PDP” the witness stated.

Obioma while being cross examined also deposed that the results uploaded on INEC’s IReV are valid and not fictitious, adding that they were all uploaded at the polling units. Countering the witness’s statement, counsel to the PDP, Chief Uche Ihediwa stated that no result was uploaded in 570 polling units.

Responding, the witness said he is not aware of such as he did not get such report. Reacting to the original National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharge certificate of Dr Alex Otti, tendered by Iheanacho Obioma before the tribunal, Chief Ihediwa argued that Otti’s NYSC discharge certificate was not in existence as at the time he was screened to be the Labour Party’s governorship candidate which made the respondent to tender the certificate “before the tribunal today”.

Responding, Iheanacho Obioma disagreed with the PDP’s counsel stating that “the NYSC certificate was in existence but it was not in the 2nd respondent’s possession which is why he had the letter of reference from NYSC”. Asked when the NYSC certificate was collected, Obioma said; “it was sometime last week”.

Earlier before his cross examination, Iheanacho Obioma tendered before the tribunal; photocopy of an NYSC reference letter and the original NYSC discharge certificate of Alex Otti; certified true copy of form EC9; Certified true copy of Otti’s resignation letter from APC; certified true copies of Forms EC8 D and E; and receipt of the certification of the documents.

He explained that the original of the reference letter dated January 28th 1992 was returned back to INEC on collection of the NYSC discharge certificate. Asked if he is aware of the Kano High court judgement in the suit between one Ibrahim Haruna against INEC and Labour Party, Obioma said he heard about it as it is in the public domain adding that “you (Chief Ihediwa) just gave me these documents now in court”. To counter the witness’s deposition that Chief Okey Ahiwe was not qualified to contest the 2023 governorship election, PDP’s counsel tendered the following documents in court; Letter of resignation of Ahiwe dated January 25, 2023 and an acknowledgement letter of his resignation dated January 26; Ahiwe’s application of counter affidavit; judgement of court of appeal Abuja in the suit between Igwe Phillip Okey, PDP and five others; judgement of the Federal High court Umuahia in the suit between Mayor Lucky Igbokwe against PDP, Ahiwe and INEC; Judgement of FHV Umuahia in the suit between Senator Emmanuel C. Nwaka against PDP, Ahiwe and INEC; Approval of resignation letter of Dr Jasper Uche from University of Nigeria dated July 18, 2023; and order of the court of appeal in pursuant of the Kano High court judgement.


While objecting to the tendering of the documents, counsel to INEC, J.T.U Nnodum put the court in notice that the witness did not admit to any of the documents therefore “there is no basis for these documents to be tendered through this witness” Nnodum said. Counsel to the 2nd respondent, Ken Ahia, SAN agreed with Nnodum. On his own part, counsel to the 3rd respondent, Sunny Ajala objected to the admissibility of the documents except the application on the letter head of “EMEKA EZE AND ASSOCIATES, that has an annexure, court of appeal Kano state order suspending the judgment of the federal high court Kano.” The 2nd respondents closed their case and the tribunal adjourned till Friday for the 3rd respondent to open and close their case.